Today we are going to look at styling and product photography. This is really important for you as a Maker, as it is the way that you will tell your Maker Story in a way that people will begin to recognise as yours.
This is a huge topic and quite a tricky one to teach. It's tricky because there are so, so many ways to style and a huge number of ways to promote and photograph a product that it's quite hard to know where to start this lesson and where to end.
Before going any further I would love you to go back over to Pinterest. Take a look at your Makers' Board and then make a second board that focussing on the style of images you would like to create. These don't have have to be images of handmade things they can be any images that have the colour palette you would like to use for you work (if that is possible for the work you do) or have the feel of the images you would like for your work.
How do you want people to feel when they see your images and the things that you make? How can you develop a style that portrays that?
Finding your style doesn't always happen quickly, so this may be a project that you work on over time but I think that the things that you make will give you a great starting point. And remember you are all amazing, creative people, so I really know that you can achieve this.
Here are two different Pinterest Boards to give you an example of two different styles.
Plain background images are often the hardest to get right. They can feel boring to take and boring to look at. Don't think of them as photographs but think of them simply as Product Shots. And remember they are important for selling your products and getting featured in magazines or blogs.
You might want or need to have all your products shot on a white background. This can be the most difficult image to get right because a plain white surface will usually cause you the most trouble with shadows. In the past I have take my images on a white surface and then used a service like Mr Clipping to get my images looking great on a perfectly white background. It has saved me so much time and stress! This service is great if you also need cut-out images for magazines as well as white background ones.
However, you might prefer to photograph your images on a different plain background like wood, marble or a coloured background. This works well too. The important thing is to be consistent. So, if you decide to use grey for your product images then you need to use grey for all your products images.
Remeber that once you've done your products images you can then have way more fun and get stuck into your visual story telling and styling.
This is one of the cards that I am selling in the little prop shop in my studio and four ways of presenting it.
Styling for your products and as a way of telling your maker stories takes practise. And lots of it!
It also needs a great background, thought about colours and some props that can become part of the story you are telling. People really don't mind how many times they see your props. People do love consistency and comfort in things they know and recognise.
I love working with prop boxes and I find that they really help me with styling. I build boxes for seasons, topics and colours. I love opening up the box and finding inspiration within. Even an image of the box itself is a wonderful thing to share.
This video is an old one but I think you'll still find it useful for watch my style some flat lay images.
It is often really hard to know when you have enough things in your image or when you have gone too far. I really recommend taking images as you go. Even take an image each time you add something. You can then look back on them and see what is working and what looks right to you.
Here is another handy Pinerest Board full of Styling Inspiration. There are so many ideas here that you could apply to the things that you make.
It is really important that your stories and style go beyond where you are selling your products. You need to develop a style that you can use everywhere, so that when people see your images on social media, on your website, on Etsy (or a similar site) or even on a flyer they recognise them.
When people see your images on social media and they like them, they will want more of this when they click over to your website or Etsy store. They want to buy into the stories you are telling on social media.
To start you thinking about this here are 10 Inspiring Makers On Instagram.